[Madrid, Granada] trip report [April 2024]

Still in progress, but I have a bit of down time, so I might as well get started. Many thanks to @Maribel and others who posted about good choices in these cities.

First night, only a few hours after flying in from Lisbon, La Lopez in the Mercado Antón Martín (very close to the Metro stop of the same name), maybe 100m from our AirBnb. This is in the centre of the lower level of the market, and in the evening, only the restaurants and prepared food stalls are open.

The hostess here, Maia, would kick any rating up a notch or two with her personable approach, except that there is no need to elevate its rating. We ordered four dishes but also got small servings of the ensaladilla russa as an amuse-bouche.

I don’t think of potato salad as fine dining, but this (with tuna) might have changed my mind. A good start, immediately overtaken by the next dish, the tomate confitado en miso. Soy is also involved, and some sweetener, I think. This was the highlight of the meal for both of us, I think. I am under orders to learn how to make this at home.

Next was the arenque del Báltico marinado con aguacate y mango. I have mostly had herring at Scandinavian lunch buffets or dockside stalls. I hadn’t planned on ordering this, but we decided to follow Raia’s recommendation, and that was the right choice. It was still a little sweet for me, but the texture was really good, so it harmonized well with the avocado and mango.

Next up was callos. Maia was surprised that we ordered this; I guess we don’t look very adventurous. I have long been a fan of tripe, my partner less so. This was excellent, with enough other meats to provide some variety.

You can’t quite see it in the photo, but they split the portion for us, and served it in large plates shaped like a flying saucer (so really thick at the centre) with a smaller depression in the top to hold the food. We were impressed by the serving dishes, and inquired about them, to be told that they are really expensive (80€ wholesale rate) and they have only six of them. Furthermore, they are insured in case of breakage. I’m glad I learned this only after scraping every last drop from mine.

Our final dish of the night was colmenillas guisadas en salsa de foie, fresh morels with a rich creamy sauce (also a fried egg, because why not). This was perhaps the most conventional dish of the night, but still quite good, and I know one doesn’t want to overcomplicate morels.

The bread was good (in fact, so far, the bread has been good in all the restaurants we’ve eaten at), as were my two glasses of wine, one a Xarel.lo blend, the other a Méncia from Bierzo. We were too full to try the tableside tiramisù. A great first meal in Madrid, with more to follow!


How I love LaLópez and Maia’s and Sergio’s hospitality and well as their creative dishes, always with new items to try! So glad you enjoyed it as well.
Those colmenillas guisandas en salsa de foie and fried egg look absolutely scrumptious!
Their bread comes from Pastelería América across the street on Atocha.

Looking forward to more!

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Lunch on the day after arrival was at Terzio, the little bar across the street from Treze, its grander, older sibling. We tried peeking in the windows at Treze but it was not easy to make out anything. Terzio is a narrow, deep space with a few low tables at the back. The reservation software asked if we wanted the 14,50€ menu del dia or à la carte, but the server gave us (and from what it looked like, others) both options. We were there for the menu.

I don’t have a photo of the dessert; it was just a small glass vessel with layered cream and jam. This meal was correct, but not exciting. The tuna was to my taste overcooked (only a hint of pink in the centre of some parts of the serving) and needed something more than the two purées. Service was efficient but not particularly friendly, and because they were busy, it took a while to get the bill. Overall, this was somewhat of a disappointment.


The menú del día used to be served at the bar of Treze, the mothership, but they recently switched it to TerZio.
We haven’t had it there, and I think that Terzio is better for its sandwiches now than its menú.

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Wonderful! Eager to read more!!

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Although it appears to be a simple market food counter, LaLópez Bar is so much more! And Sergio worked hand in hand at Viridiana, and it shows. He’s extremely talented, always looking to expand and improve his offerings, and this “simple” market bar is a top favorite among my food obsessed Madrid friends. And Maia is the perfect hostess (from San Sebastián). She does know her wines! They deserve a Repsol sun and already have a Repsol recommendation.

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So now I have YET another addition to my Madrid dining list! I really do need to buy an apartment in that city…all this flying back and forth is getting tiring!!!

I will begin my own Madrid report before too long!!

Salino, in the Retiro district only a short distance from the park, is set down from the street, so diners see the feet of people on the sidewalk, and curious dogs peering in. There is a small bar area and a small dining room. The staff were friendly but no one seemed to understand much English, though they mostly pretended that they did. The styling of the rooms and the music playing made me quip, “They really take the i out of Retiro!”.

We did not get a recitation of specials (another table did), but this was all right, as I had researched the regular menu items and made a selection. As an amuse-bouche, we were served two cups of broth.

To start, we had the torreznos and croquetas de jamón ibérico.

Both were good, though I think I could have done with half the serving size. The torreznos had a good mix of crunchy and soft parts, and the croquettes were on the lighter side in texture, though still rich.

Next was the Shanghai-Valencia duck rice. This was brought to the table in the pan and plated tableside. The dish did not quite work for me; I think I was expecting it to pop more (and have more duck in it!).

Finally, we had the oxtail with Massaman curry. I liked this dish a lot, and it was plated well.

This left no room for dessert. When we were seated, I had asked for a list of wines by the glass, and got a list of full bottles. I could not make myself understood and eventually went back to the bar area, where they had the choices up on the wall. The server did follow me and make some recommendations. I had a glass of quite nice cava to start, and then a Ribera del Duero (though these came at the same time, more miscommunication). The extensive wine card (both glasses and bottles) is on their website, but I would have had to go up to the street to get connectivity.

Sitting in the mostly empty dining room (there were only two other parties when we left, all looking older than me, and I am not young) with its retro styling, eating very rich food, made the whole experience slightly stuffy. The bar room was much more lively, though we would have had to shout to converse with each other. It might still have been preferable.


On each of our first three days in Madrid (not counting the day of arrival), we went to a different major museum when it opened at 10am, so it was nice to be able to book a late lunch and not feel rushed (this can be an issue in North America).

La Canibal is very close to the Museo Reina Sofia. It offers about a dozen craft beers (some brewed in house) and a dozen natural wines on tap. The front room is large, industrially-styled but softened by varnished wooden tables. It has a lot of communal seating with high chairs but also some lower tables. The back room is more homey, lined with large photographs of food arranged and lit in the style of classic still-life paintings.

By law, every Spanish restaurant has to offer tap water (“agua del grifo”), though how they manage this varies widely. At La Canibal, every table immediately gets a large carafe of water without asking, and it is replaced as needed. Nowhere else came close to that standard. Service is also very friendly and efficient.

There is a menu of the day, but we opted to order á la carte. First up, mussels, steamed with some good aromatics.

Then pipirras. I would have liked this dish to be alongside the other two, but they were clearly firing them one at a time. These were perhaps a bit expensive at 14,50€, but quite a treat for us.

Finally, their signature dish, octopus prepared in the Galician style. Great texture and flavour.

We had a half-litre of a Xarel.lo blend. My partner finds most wines a bit too strong, but this was only 10.5% ABV, and she was fine with it.

The dining room was filled with families; a couple near us ordered the enormous pork knuckle for two and demolished it, and four people came in with rollerbags (the Atocha train station is also very close and this would be a good choice before or after a train). Overall, a very pleasant experience.


Really enjoying your reports. Glad you travel a fair amount!!


La Canibal is on my short list , that octopus looks excellent.

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I love the octopus at La Caníbal, not at all rubbery and some can be.

The dishes at Salino, the two that you ordered, the same ones we’ve had, are extremely rich, and the chef goes very heavy on the spices. And that may not appeal to everyone. While we enjoy dining there, we always feel exceptionally full afterwards, and we try not to order too much.
We usually sit at the bar and share a couple of plates, including those torreznos.

It´s good to know about the relative absence of English, as I don´t pay enough attention to that aspect of the dining experience for a non-Spanish speaking diner, and I should.


Assessing the ESL skills of servers is not your job! You already provide so much useful information in your posts.


My partner has a number of international meetings throughout the year, and I try to tag along. In the two years before COVID hit, we travelled a lot (probably too much, I was feeling guilty about the carbon footprint) but all that abruptly changed and there were a couple of years of huddling inside. Changes in employer travel policies and more remote-connection opportunities have damped things down somewhat, and we are trying to use more trains (not easy starting from Lisbon, alas).


In between lunch and dinner, and on non-museum days, we did a lot of walking (and some Metro travel, it is quite a bargain currently). On one of those walks, we picked up an Alex Cordobés cheesecake, the small size (about 10cm in diameter) to take back to our apartment.

I know the style is supposed to be runny, but this was runny. It was cheesecake soup! Nice flavour, and the minimal crumb crust survived well, but a quarter was enough for us as a serving, and it was difficult to portion out and to wrap well enough to keep for another day. (I did a lot of licking of knives, spatulas, and cutting boards.) I enjoyed this, but I might not go back, except maybe to try a slice of the full size to see if it was a little more set.


Wow, that really, truly is runny!! Runnier even than the one at Fismuler! Great photo though.

Mine was the same size but not so runny. But then again, I bought it when AC opens at 10 and spent the entire day running around Madrid shopping, on and off buses and the metro, then when I finally returned home, my little AC cheesecake had seen better days. It was still delicious but quite ragged.

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Mine (lemon; smallest size) was not as runny, but I must say that after a day in the minibar, the ingredients had separated a little bit…I just mushed it back together and it was great. Next time I need to try the dulce de Leche…
Maybe the separation was due to the mini bar not being at prime temperature…

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La Monteria was our grandest meal. We opted for the tasting menu, but I’ll show the list of daily specials we were given.

We were seated in a corner of the well-lit dining room. Only one of the three people we interacted with spoke English, but the others communicated well with us. Several other parties came shortly after we arrived at 8pm, but the room was never full. People were dressed casually and there was more of a range of ages.

Here’s the tasting menu from the website so I don’t have to type everything out.

I haven’t had deer tartare before. Of course it was farmed, so milder than wild game, and not spiced like a typical steak tartare, so the difference could be appreciated. I seem to have forgotten to photograph the last two courses, small slices of partridge breast with a puff pastry cover, and a small piece of torrija (perhaps 3cm by 10cm) with ice cream and a tart passionfruit sauce.

This was a uniformly excellent meal. Service was swift, efficient, and friendly, the wines I had were good, and the atmosphere was quite pleasant. At 50€, this is not to be missed.

Edit: I did take a photo of the water glasses, which seemed incongruous, given the colour palette of the place.


50 Euros is a steal! Looks great. Another one on my short list.

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You must go! That truly is a steal, and the atmosphere is so inviting. It´s become one of my favorite places in the Retiro district.

Thanks for the report, piragde!

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